Agricultural trade issues continue to garner a substantial amount of media attention. The Commerce Department noted on Friday that surging U.S. soybean exports, spurred by the anticipation of Chinese tariffs, contributed to strong second quarter GDP growth. Meanwhile, President Trump touted an agreement with the EU to purchase more U.S. soybeans, although a subsequent report pointed out that the accord fell short of addressing broader agricultural trade disputes. Nonetheless, on Sunday's "Face the Nation" television program, Larry Kudlow, President Trump's economic advisor, indicated that broad discussions on agriculture will be part of the bilateral talks wth the EU.
A news release from USDA on Tuesday stated that, "U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the [USDA] will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets."
An update on Friday from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City ("Large Loans for Livestock Drive Uptick in Farm Lending,” by Cortney Cowley and Ty Kreitman) stated that, "Farm lending activity increased slightly in the second quarter, according to the National Survey of Terms of Lending to Farmers. The total volume of non-real estate farm loans was about 2 percent higher than the same period last year."
Several recent news articles have discussed tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports and the impacts these policies are having on global commodity markets. As the effects of trade policies ripple through the agricultural sector, a separate set of news items have highlighted how politicians and farmers are reacting to the impacts. Today's update provides an overview of these news stories.
A news release on Wednesday from the House Ag Committee stated that, "Today, the House of Representatives moved to send the 2018 Farm Bill to conference committee. Following the vote, Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-1) named the House conferees, or members who will seek to resolve the differences between the two chambers’ bills."
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Board released its July 2018 Beige Book update, a summary of commentary on current economic conditions by Federal Reserve District. The report included several observations pertaining to the U.S. agricultural economy.
As the impacts of the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute continue to unfold, a report last week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided some insight into how the Chinese tariffs are affecting soybean markets. Today's update looks at news reports that discuss trade issues and the USDA report in greater detail.
Late last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) released its latest report (“International Food Security Assessment, 2018-2028) in a continuous series of updates begun in the 1970s that explore issues associated with food security indicators. June's update includes assessments for the current year and 10 years into the future. Today's post includes highlights from the ERS report.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently published its biannual Food Outlook report that provides short-term forecasts for commodity production, trade and prices. Also this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its monthly trade database which provided more insight into agricultural trade prospects for this fiscal year. Meanwhile, recent news articles continue to focus on U.S. soybeans and the potential impacts of Chinese tariffs on exports. Today's update looks briefly at each of these three items.
Don Lee reported on the front page of Saturday's Los Angeles Times that, "The tariffs that the United States and China slapped on each other’s exports Friday intensified a trade battle that has a strong risk of roiling financial markets, chilling consumer confidence and seriously harming the global economy...Soybeans topped the list of newly taxed items— and they illustrate how deeply U.S. and Chinese producers and consumers have come to depend on each other."